Urs Fischer – Union Berlin – Tactical Analysis

After 20 matchdays, Union Berlin sit fourth place in the Bundesliga table, just one point behind third place Bayer Leverkusen. This is coming after a stunning seventh place finish last year, with the club securing their first taste of European football in twenty years. With a rigid 3-1-4-2 to 3-5-2 system and a group of grinders, Union are well set up for years to come under the influence of Urs Fischer. Here is our tactical analysis of Union Berlin in 2021-22.

Dean Smith – Norwich City – Tactical Analysis

At the time that Dean Smith took over from Daniel Farke at Norwich, the Canaries were rooted bottom of the table with just 1 win. They looked destined for relegation without any hope of survival, regardless of how Smith might do in charge. But now, after two back to back wins against Everton and Watford, Norwich suddenly have a real chance of survival. Here is a quick tactical analysis of Dean Smith's 4-2-3-1 with Norwich City.

Steven Gerrard – Aston Villa – Tactical Analysis

Gerrard remains a relatively inexperienced manager, but with a clear sense of tactical knowhow, the former Liverpool legend appears to be long for this world. Gerrard's won four from his first ten in charge, and added his first draw to the mix this past weekend against Manchester United with an extraordinary comeback. New additions in Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho have also entered the frame, providing the perfect time to take a look at how Gerrard has settled into life at Villa Park so far. Here is our tactical analysis of Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa in 2021-22.

Eddie Howe – Newcastle United – Tactical Analysis

With the lowest xG in the league, Eddie Howe has a difficult conundrum to solve. But with sound principles of play in possession in place and two new additions, Newcastle should be able to get out alive this season. Here is our analysis of Eddie Howe's 4-3-3.

Jose Mourinho – AS Roma – Tactical Analysis – with Edward Stratmann

AS Roma and Paulo Fonseca parted ways with the Italian giants finishing just seventh in Serie A, but a more positive semi-final run in the Europa League and some encouraging attack-minded, tactically intriguing football. Legend of the game Jose Mourinho was the man to come in and replace Fonseca, and the Portuguese icon got off to a flying start in his Roma career, winning six from the first seven. But since then, it's been typical Mourinho, with the club now potentially spiraling back into their old ways. This week I talk to Roma expert Edward Stratmann on what needs to happen if Mourinho is to change the club's fortunes around, and the tactics Mourinho has displayed since taking over from Fonseca. Be sure to follow the show @mastermindsite, and give Edward a shout using the links below. 

Xavi Hernandez – FC Barcelona – Tactical Analysis

Barcelona have been on a deep, downward spiral ever since rumours of Messi's departure started to surface toward the end of the 2019-20 season. The La Liga giants have won just the 2020-21 Copa del Rey since the 2018-19 season, and now look destined to finish below a UEFA Champions League place this time around. Xavi Hernandez has come into the club to try and restore normality, but with the club floundering under uncertainty of poor budget planning and insufficient funds, Xavi's task appears to be a mammoth one. Barcelona sit in just sixth place at the moment, and they've had very few convincing performances since the former Barca legend arrived from Al Sadd. With young players not quite ready and old heads no longer at their best ruling the starting lineup, Xavi's ability to find consistency before the end of the season could be impossible. So with that, let's take a look at some of the tactics Xavi has deployed since taking over the helm at Camp Nou, and what needs to change if the legend is get his team back into the UEFA Champions League next season.

Bruno Lage – Wolves – Tactical Analysis

After the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo at the end of last season, Wolverhampton Wanderers hoped their next manager would have the gusto to turn the club back into a Europa League challenging team. While Bruno Lage wasn't the flashiest of appointments, the Portuguese manager has surpassed fan expectations, turning Wolves into one of the best defensive units in the league. Despite scoring just 14 goals in 19 league games, Wolves sit 8th place in the table, on 28 points. That in large part is due to the excellent tactical balance of Bruno Lage's team, their sound defensive structure, and the fact that every single player has completely bought into his ideologies. Here is a tactical analysis all about Bruno Lage's Wolves.

How to beat a low-block like Antonio Conte’s Spurs

Antonio Conte's Spurs, as expected, have gotten off to a flying start. Conte's team have gone unbeaten in their eight Premier League matches so far, playing some fantastic, easy on the eye football in the process. The variety in their attacking play has helped the team to 14 goals in 8 matches, with just 5 conceded in the process. In our recent analysis of Conte's team, we posited that the team only had one key dilemma to solve - what to do against low-blocks who want to sit very deep against them. As opposition teams sort Tottenham out, Conte's quest to combat the low-block appears to be growing all the more difficult by the match. They failed to claim victory against 10-man Southampton earlier in the week, and yesterday had to wait until stoppage time for Davinson Sanchez's winner. So with that, we take a quick look at how teams like Antonio Conte's can disrupt a low-block and generate scoring chances, taking examples from Spurs' own 1-0 victory against Watford at the weekend.

Graham Potter – Brighton & Hove Albion – Tactical Analysis (2021-22)

One of the most tactically complex teams in world football, no other team could change formation and personnel to the extent that Graham Potter's Brighton do without suffering any consequences. Through all the constant change, it's miraculous to think his team have boasted some of the best possession in the league, and one of the soundest defensive structures. The calls continue to come for Potter to move up a level and take on a new challenge, but for now, the British manager has kept Brighton in the top half of the table for the vast majority of the 2021-22 season. Here is our tactical analysis of Graham Potter's incredible Brighton & Hove Albion.

Antonio Conte – Tottenham Hotspur – Tactical Analysis

It is now two months since Antonio Conte put pen to paper with Tottenham Hotspur, and the signs of improvement are clear. Spurs sit fourth in the table as things stand, in with a real shout of reclaiming Champions League football after three seasons away. Meanwhile, just about every player has upped their game under the influence of the Italian, most importantly, Harry Kane - who is finally firing in front of goal again. So as Conte gets accustomed to his role and his newly inherited squad, we take a look at the Italian's tactics with Tottenham so far in 2021-22.

Our Ten Most Popular Analyses of 2021

2021 was the most successful year in the six year history of TheMastermindSite.com. Over the course of the year, we doubled our number of views, visitors, social media followers and email subscribers from where we left off in 2020. Our most popular feature and the aspect of our website that has gained the attention from pro club managers, former and current professional players, and writers from The Athletic, has been our tactical analyses all year long. So with that, here are the ten most popular analyses of the year, all written by Rhys Desmond in 2021.